Loyola University Maryland


Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?

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 “Would You Baptize an Extraterrestrial?”
Speaker: Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., Ph.D.
7:00 p.m., McGuire Hall
Sponsored by Messina, Catholic Studies, and the Office of Mission Integration

About the Event: 

"So, would you baptize an extraterrestrial?” This is one of many questions that Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno is asked as Director of the Vatican Observatory. Both this lecture and his most recent book, which take their titles from this very question, seek to probe the relationship between scientific knowledge and religious faith. 
As an astronomer and a scholar, Brother Consolmagno has made rich contributions to his field and to our knowledge of the universe in which we live. As a popular author, he is a leading voice in presenting scientific knowledge to the general public. As a Jesuit, Consolmagno has been instrumental in explaining how Christian faith relates to science and how the relationship between the two is mutually enriching rather than antagonistic.

The belief that faith and reason are deeply compatible is central to Loyola University Maryland’s mission as a Catholic and Jesuit institution of higher education. We are proud to welcome Brother Consolmagno as the keynote speaker of this year’s Jesuit Heritage Week.

Resources for Attendees:

• Interview with Br. Consolmagno in “AstroBiology Magazine”
• Podcast Interview of Br. Consolmagno from “On Being” with Krista Tippett entitled “Asteroids, Stars, and the Love of God”
• Video Interview of Br. Consolmagno from “The Colbert Report” with Stephen Colbert
The Vatican Observatory
• Br. Consolmagno’s Author Page at Amazon.com
• Follow Br. Consolmagno on Twitter: https://twitter.com/specolations 

About the Speaker:

Appointed director of the Vatican Observatory in September 2015 by Pope Francis, Brother Guy Consolmagno is a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). A native of Detroit, Mich., he earned his Ph.D. in Planetary Science from the University of Arizona. After serving in the Peace Corps in Kenya, he became a professor of physics at Lafayette College before entering the Jesuits. Since that time, Consolmagno has taught at numerous universities in addition to his work at the Vatican Observatory  including Loyola University Maryland (then Loyola College).

Questions for Reflection and Discussion:

1. Br. Consolmagno’s writings and talks emphasize that, to many questions, the answer is: “We don’t know.” In what ways is admitting our ignorance a necessary step in the process of learning more-- in science, and in other disciplines as well?

  2. What kind of theological questions does Br. Consolmagno suggest would emerge if humans were to discover other intelligent life in the cosmos? 3. Br. Consolmagno is the head of the Vatican Observatory  he is the pope’s chief stargazer. Based on your knowledge before the lecture, would you find it surprising to learn that the Vatican funds this kind of research? Having heard the talk, why do you think this topic is important for a religious organization like the Catholic Church?

4. Based on Br. Consolmagno’s talk, how do you think he would respond to the idea that there is somehow an irreparable “breach” between science and religious faith?
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